My posts fall further behind but this time it’s not my fault! I finally got into my site tonight and started getting the truck ready for the night. This took a few minutes because of the way RTD chooses to eat his food. Unlike a normal dog and eating his food out of the bowl, he instead takes a mouthful and spits it out on the floor and munches the kibbles one at a time. Well tonight I set his food out as always, clipped him up, and threw all the kibbles out of the back of the truck. After that I gathered up the garbage and took Rockstar on a walk to the dumpster to toss out my detritus. After figuring how to work the apparently bearproof and hookproof door on the dumpster, RTD and I headed back to the truck. As we rounded the back of the truck, the night took a turn that I hadn’t anticipated.
See, I use a headlamp to see what I’m doing after sundown, so I can only see about four feet ahead of my feet. Fortunately I have RTD to warn me of any danger that may be out ahead of this. As long as this danger is a cat. Or bird. Apparently RTD’s keen senses aren’t tuned to the frequency of harder to detect animals such as lizards, tiny rodents, and oh yeah, skunks. Yup, less than four feet from RTD and I was Pepe Le Pew himself, in all his white striped glory. Apparently a skunk found RTD’s food in the 42 seconds it took us to toss the garbage. Anyhow I spotted the skunk before RTD and acted accordingly. Years of military training had prepared me for just such an event. I reached deep down inside, planted my feet and screamed like a little girl. RTD still had not noticed the gas bag that was busily turning around to bring his weapon to bear, and I was envisioning anal gland goodness the likes of which I’d never experienced. Finally I managed to utter the magic words that unfroze my body and slowed time enough to make a get away. Basically, I yelled “OH S**T! SKUUUUUUUUNK!!” As I furiously backpedaled away and tried to drag RTD away from the now discovered skunk. Luckily my force in the reverse direction was stronger than RTD’s in the skunk’s direction, and we got away. Unfortunately that just left Pepe to munch on RTD’s food. Eventually I managed to scare him off the food long enough to scoop up the food. What I forgotten however, was the food I’d thrown behind the truck. Because of this we spent the next hour or so standing a safe distance away as Pepe had his way with the Bean. RTD tried hard to get away, angry that I was withholding him from playing with such an obviously fun filled friend. My explanations did no good… Oh well, on the upside, no animals or vehicles were sprayed in the making of this story!
Anyhow, how did I come to be where I was? Well… lots of driving! Like I’d said before, I’d made it to Las Cruzes, NM from Phoenix without incident, though I did drive through a number of huge sandstorms. I also paid a visit to the Pima Air Museum which is a few hundred acres of airplane fun. While there RTD managed to rub up against as many cacti as possible, and my fingers paid the price! We wandered the grounds of the museum looking at planes and a few helicopters. I reflected back on my experience in the fixed wing world that I used to kill time while I was at Fort Sam Houston waiting for the Army to decide what they were going to do. Finally RTD and I headed back out on the open road to NM, where the duststorms were the order of the day! The desert pretty much looks the same from Nevada on out thru Texas, though the farther east you go, the greener it becomes. The biggest difference were the cacti… In Arizona large Saguaro cacti are present everywhere but are all but gone by the time you get to New Mexico.
After the night in Las Cruces we headed up to White Sands National Monument at the suggestion of some of the readers. We got there relatively early and the brightness of the sand dunes was striking in contrast to the bleak brown of the surrounding desert. When you first enter the park the dunes have a lot of vegetation poking through, but once you get to the heart of the dunes, they stand as unblemished white waves as far as the eye can see. RTD and I got out to play here, which made for a bit of fun. I threw Rocky’s Frisbee ring several times, and before long he had a frothy/sandy white beard hanging off of his face. I gave him water, and the we just repeated the game… After that we headed to Texas where I found the best barbecue ever!
Rudy’s. If you are EVER in Texas, this is a requirement. I had just crossed into El Paso when I saw the sign for Rudy’s. I nearly crashed the Bean making the exit. Amazing barbecue was only a few minutes away. Rudy’s started out in San Antonio, and it violates all my rules for good barbecue. My experience has taught me that truly good barbecue must have these elements: Non-vinegar based sauce. Pork, pulled or shredded, not sliced. Made and served by a large black man, preferably in a really dingy building in the heart of a ghetto. I’m not saying this sarcastically! Truly the best BBQ I manage to find almost always comes from joints where most people are double checking their door locks as they speed by. Rudy’s on the other hand specializes in beef brisket. When you order it, you actually see the guy pull it off a fire and saw off charred slices that crumble when touched with your fork. Barbecue nirvana is to be found here. The most amazing part is it’s a CHAIN!! If you have money to buy into a franchise, buy Rudy’s and I promise you’ll die rich! Mmmmmmmm Rudy’s….
Anyhow my next installment will take me through the park at Big Bend an on to Fredericksburg, TX. Hopefully I’ll get that solo story there, too… Until then!